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Sessions

We're working on a great slate of sessions for the Summer Retreat—more sessions are being added each week, so check back!

Sessions are open to registered retreat attendees. Please email retreat@rwa.org for more information.

 

Special Sessions

Lee Mariano

How to Color Outside the Lines and Live Your Best Life

Speaker: Lee Mariano

 

Who are you?

Sometimes it doesn’t seem very easy to answer this question, does it? It kind of depends on who you’re around. When you’re with strangers or co-workers, it’s not uncommon to wear a mask or adopt a persona. You become part of the crowd simply because that is the easiest way to get along.

Around someone you know well, this might be a very different story. The mask drops, the persona fades. You become more real, more authentic. You’re quirky and a little odd, but a lot of fun. You’re you.

Sometimes.

Even around people you know, it can be hard to let go. You might worry about what other people would think if they saw the real you. Or you might not even be sure yourself who you are anymore; it’s been so long since you’ve let go enough to find out.

If this sounds familiar, then it’s time for a journey into the world of you. Join me for a powerful discussion to help you take immediate steps to change the way you show up to yourself and the world around you.

Lee Mariano is an author, speaker, business guru, and CEO and founder of Alexidom Coaching; a multifaceted coaching specialty centered around helping clients increase their self-confidence, reclaim their personal power, and rediscover their identity, so that they can successfully achieve their goals; and attain the life they desire most.



Siera London

Marketing to Sell More Books

Speaker: Siera London

 

Writing better books doesn’t equate to selling more books. Do you need a simple strategy to power up your book marketing strategy and increase your sales? 

Marketing to Sell More Books offers a straight forward approach, the BEN-P Method, to build your author brand, reader engagement, professional network, and book promotion plan. The BEN-P method teaches you how to create a cost-effective annual marketing plan in manageable intervals. 

Day 1 of this intensive workshop will focus on understanding the components of the BEN-P Method. You’ll learn why it’s critical to apply each step to your book marketing plan in order to design a profitable, scalable strategy. 

On Day 2, Siera will share her marketing templates and practices with participants. At the completion of the workshop each participant will have a BEN-P Method marketing playbook for one book or series.  

Siera London, the creator of the BEN-P book marketing method is a USA Today bestselling & award-winning author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and crime fiction. She crafts stories of diverse characters navigating love’s challenges to find their happily ever after. 



Stacey Beth Shulman

Gentle Yoga for Every Body

Instructor: Stacey Beth Shulman

 

Stacey Beth Shulman will host three yoga classes during the Retreat. Her classes are weight-neutral and accessible for people of all genders and abilities. She always welcomes Absolute Beginners as well as those with More Experience to share the joy of gentle movement and mindful breath with her. 

Stacey received her 200 and 500 hour certifications from Yoganand Michael Carroll of the Kripalu yoga lineage. She is a Certified Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator and an IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist. 



More Sessions

 

Brainstorming your Character Problems

Facilitators: Alexis Morgan Roark and Linda Hurtado (writing as Linda Bond)

Open session for attendees to gather and brainstorm plots, characters, & synopsis problems.


Coming Back from the Brink

Speaker: Clair Brett
We all have those times in our lives that pull us from our writing. It could be family, job, sickness, world events, or even finally getting the call, or publishing that book, then you must write the next one. Most of what stops us is that inner voice that focuses on your fear. In this workshop, you will learn strategies to get back into your best writing life.
Coming Back from the Brink will set your mind at ease and help you gently and lovingly get back into your writing and find the joy in your writing life again. With some interactive activities, visualizations, and strategies to keep on hand, you will leave equipped to set the course for getting back to your writing when life gets in the way.


Cut Out the Middle, Man!

Speaker: Susan Gee Heino
Having trouble with a sagging middle? Does your synopsis say, “And then other stuff happens” but you’re not sure what that other stuff is? Well, say good-bye to that muddling middle! We’ll sort out the muddle and tighten the sag as we look at plot points, goals, conflicts, and how to keep those pages turning.


From Page to Script: Writing Romances for the Big Screen

Speaker: Lindy Miller
Many authors dream of seeing their characters fall in love on the big screen. However, achieving this goal requires more than just a great story or a good dose of luck—it means knowing how to craft a compelling pitch, establish the right visual language for your story, and understand how to hit the notes producers are looking for.


He Said, She Said and Other Elements of Effective Dialogue

Speaker: Caridad Pineiro
You’ve started your book. You have the basic idea of what you plan to write (genre and length) and understand the conflict with which your characters will deal. But to be intriguing, your characters not only need that internal conflict to resolve but dialogue that fits them and is effective. In addition, the dialogue that occurs between the characters has to convey necessary information. The key is: not too much information. You want the reader to intuit any secondary meaning in the words and also, the emotions and intent behind the words. In this workshop, Caridad discusses the various elements that will help you craft dialogue that is realistic and compelling.


Leverage Your Time and Resources: Utilizing the Services of a Virtual Assistant

Speaker: Laina Turner
30-minute session
Being an author requires wearing many different hats. It can be frustrating trying to manage the marketing, administrative tasks and still finding time to write. Working with an assistant can be a lifesaver. Hiring an assistant is a financial investment that allows you to focus more on your writing while the VA works on your other tasks more efficiently. In this session, we will discuss how to determine if it's time to hire a PA, how to decide what tasks your VA can help you with, and how to hire the right person.


Living and Writing in Midlife

Speaker: Laina Turner
When you're an author in the sandwich generation trying to be a parent to your kids and taking care of your parents in the middle of a pandemic, you may think you are going to lose your mind.
 
In this session, Laina will talk about how she has been able to make it through this situation and remain semi-sane while offering tips and tricks on how you can do the same.


Mindset Mastery for Writing and Life

Speaker: Pascale Kavanagh
It's too easy to be bull-dozed by an author career. There are too many moving parts for any one person to handle, leading to a constant state of overwhelm and un-shiftable dissatisfaction. The remedy lies within the perspective from which you view the experience. When goals include success and fulfillment, mindset shifts can not only keep our creative muscles strong, they can help us discover a vitality that sustains us for the long haul. This workshop provides the tools to:

•    understand and adopt the mindset of focused flexibility
•    build stamina and resistance to the writer’s ails of blocks, doubts, and rampant self-criticism
•    manage the physical, mental, and emotional demands of a long, bright, fulfilling career


Productive Planning

Facilitators: Alexis Morgan Roark and Linda Hurtado (writing as Linda Bond)
Open session for attendees to share tips & tricks to make planners productive. Bring your planners, stickers, washi tape and have fun.


Putting Conflict on the Page

Speaker: Melinda Curtis
Two-hour session
Identifying character conflict is challenging. But once you get it, how do you put it on the page in the opening pages, the middle of the book, the black moment, resolution and final scenes? Join Melinda Curtis for an interactive course on making conflict work for you.


Refresh Your Platform: Reach Readers with TikTok

Speaker: Robin Jeffrey
Working on building your author platform? Tired of churning out tweet after tweet? Curious about TikTok but don’t know where to start? This 60-minute session will teach you all the basics of what TikTok is, how it works, and how to have fun while reaching patrons like never before. This presentation will walk you through what you need to think about to create your very own TikTok account and will prove useful for authors at all stages in their careers. Let us show you what you’ve been missing!
 
Participants will leave the program with a firm grasp of the TikTok platform's capabilities, ideas of how to implement TikTok into their already existing social media outreach plans, and learn how to build a brand new TikTok account of their very own!


Refreshing and Renewing Your Spirit through Guided Meditation

Facilitator: Christine Ashworth
30-minute session
Join Christine Ashworth for 10-15 minutes of guided meditation with discussion time afterward on refreshing and renewing your spirit.


Share Your Marketing Tips and Strategies

Facilitators: Alexis Morgan Roark and Linda Hurtado (writing as Linda Bond)
Open session for attendees to gather and share their marketing tips & strategies.


Story Arc Plotting: Visually Planning Your Story

Speaker: Bernadette Marie Soehner
Two-hour session
A trip is always better when you have a road map, and a story isn’t much different. In this workshop, we will walk through different visual methods of plotting, from brain dumps to plotting graphs that will help you plan out your next manuscript. By mapping out your story arc, you’re giving yourself a map to a better story, easily dissected points to create a blurb, and a tidy list to create a synopsis, not to mention a map to make sure you stay on track while creating your masterpiece.


Tips and Tricks to Jumpstart Your Words

Facilitator: Christine Ashworth


Using Guided Meditation to Get Your Characters to Talk

Facilitator: Christine Ashworth
30-minute session
Join Christine Ashworth for 10-15 minutes of guided meditation with discussion time afterward on your characters.


Writer’s Improv

Facilitators: Alexis Morgan Roark and Linda Hurtado (writing as Linda Bond)

Join our evening session of laughter and fun! Bring your plot holes, stubborn characters, sagging middles, and more! We will pull on the power and flexibility of improv to help boost your creativity and get your story to "The End."


The Writer’s Muse: Explorations in Creativity

Speaker: Jacquelin Cangro
In the Writer’s Muse: Explorations in Creativity, we will navigate the creative process using a variety of fun methods designed to get out of our heads and cultivate our curiosity. Inspiration often comes from the unlikeliest of sources. Together, we are going to observe, explore, collect, study, and compare. You'll cultivate your curiosity to get words on the page and be inspired to keep going!
 You'll learn to:

 * Develop good writing habits that foster creativity
 * Shed anxieties that keep you from growing as a writer
 * Draw inspiration from the world around you
 * Find form for your ideas, develop them into a piece of writing, and make them better
 
The guided explorations are for beginners, anyone who is "stuck," and those trying to take their work to the next level.